Benjamin Whichcote

1609-1683. Cambridge Platonist.* Born in Shropshire and educated at Cambridge where he eventually became provost of King's College, he lost his post at the Restoration. He was incumbent of St. Lawrence Jewry, London, from 1668 till his death. Whichcote's main works are his Discourses and Moral and Religious Aphorisms. He was one of the leading members of the group of liberal divines known as the Cambridge Platonists. Indeed, his insistence on the text from Proverbs, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord” emphasizes the Platonists' belief in man's reason as the ultimate seat of authority in religion, while the importance for him of Paul's “For God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple” indicates the religious significance of moral behavior for this group. For Whichcote, God was “the Original of Man's being, the centre of his soul, his ultimate end.”